Magic!: Scientists Produce Light From 'Nothingness'

November 22, 2011


I dunno, those look like little Pac-Man ghosts to me.

A group of Swedish scientists have allegedly produced real-life photons from "virtual" ones. How do we know they're not lying? We don't. That's why I say we raid their lab, steal all their notes, and ask questions later. Namely: how can we use this to build a time machine. Answer me! *waving Swiss Army knife* Answer me or I'll cut you with your own knife! "That's Swiss, we're Swedish." OH F*** -- OF GUMMI FISH FAME?!

Quantum theory predicts that empty space isn't really empty. No matter how empty it seems, there will constantly be this seething foam of "virtual particles" that pop in and out of existence for no particular reason...

If you're very clever, like these Swedish witches physicists, you can take those virtual particles and turn them into real particles, effectively creating something out of nothing. If you can get a mirror [vibrating] incredibly fast...some of the virtual photons that pop into existence on its surface won't have time to disappear again before the mirror runs into them. The energy of these virtual photons then gets absorbed by the mirror, which then spits the energy back out, but as real photons.

Damn, that's some pretty deep shit right there. I'm talking "snuck out of your bedroom in high school to tongue-kiss a boy and got caught" deep shit. Grounded till college. So, you think there are any other kinds of virtual particles floating around out there that we could make appear? Please say sandwich ones, please say sandwich ones. "No." But I'm huuuuuuuuungry.

Swedes create light from absolute nothingness, God updates resume [dvice]

Thanks to Bryce, who doesn't believe in virtual particles. Oh really? Then how do you explain smelly gas?

  • Juan Ruiz

    So if you shake the mirror strong enough you could get pacman ghosts... how much must i shake my mirror to get galaga?

  • RDarker

    Pac Man is the God particle!

  • grantthomasrodrigue

    Could the photons possibly just be shed from the mirror itself?  I mean if the mirror is being vibrated at an incredibly fast rate, that's a lot of kinetic energy you're playing with.  Kinetic energy yields heat, and heat can yield light, depending on the properties of the material it is present in.  I'm no expert in physics by any means, but it's just a thought.

  • The mirror is at super-low temperatures. They wouldn't be able to detect anything due to heat noise otherwise. It's really a no-brainier, though. A reflective surface terminates the field. It acts as the end of a string. If you take an end of the string and start moving it, do you get waves on the string? Well, yeah. So once you accept Casimir Effect, this sort of thing neatly follows. The only trick is performing an experiment. And not allowing the mirror to heat up in any way, like you mention, is a big part of it.

  • I guess the laws of thermodynamic stay intact as the vibrating mirror presumably thwacks the virtual photons, imparting energy...

  • I thought this was a pac man article too...

  • Mighty Molecule

    ...i leave the advanced physics applications to the capable hands of morgan freeman and keanu reeves, but i thought the whole "nothing" in space problem was effectively done and dealt with since the whole "dark matter" razzle pazzle. so basically, swedish scientists create something from something and sell it to you for nothing?...

  • Of course it's possible create something out of nothing. Fox News has been doing it for years.

  • Wait! Are you telling us that Santa, the elves, & Ms. Claus are safe? There really is no war on Christmas?

    Well... in hopes that others won't waste time enlisting in a non-existent war we've shared your comment from the Pewlpit, as the lead to this groundbreaking Quantum-Physics piece.

  • Paul Chun

    is that pinky and clyde? from Pac-man?

  • Peter Souza

    o.O ... really?

blog comments powered by Disqus
Previous Post
Next Post